Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ARCHITECTURE, FILM & MUSIC: ACMI Mediatheque Project 2012

ACMI Mediatheque Project 2012
Australian Institute of Architects _ MAA
I curated the following program for MAA 2012:

Architecture, Film & Music: Carlton in the Sixties [Framed by Now]
A film program at the Mediatheque in ACMI

The selection of films in this program is centred on the artistic community of Carlton in 1960s and 1970s. These films implicitly explore ideas about the inner city and suburbia and what these different urban arrangements mean in terms of enabling a community interaction. These films are important because they gives us the opportunity to look back to the 1960s and 70s at what the urban environment offered and the cultural changes that were happening at this time. The films tell us something about who we are and the interconnections between culture and the urban fabric.

The three Carlton films have been influenced by the French New Wave and like the New Wave films tend to these films also tell the story of an individual or individuals within a place. Together these films ask questions about the suburb and the city. How we live in these spaces - what the architecture enables?

The Carlton films are framed by two more recent films. One exploring the idea of the image and the virtual being a more dominant experience of the city; the other suggests the design of some spaces within the present city is so dismal that it actively discourages people coming together.

In this inter-disciplinary exploration we ask did the urban fabric of Carlton support the artistic community in the 1960s and 70s or could it have happened anywhere?

Mapping a City of Fragments v.2 (1997) Dir: Chip Lord 9.31
Mapping a City of Fragments v.2 begins with a clip from Alphaville (1966) by Jean Luc Godard. In Alphaville, a futuristic Paris, the city is run by a computer - Alpha 60. The computer controls everything in this thoroughly technological world.

Chip Lord’s film is a montage of fiction films and clips taken by the director of various cities around the world. These clips are intercut with images of Silicon Valley. The film suggests we no longer enter a city through physical (architectural) gates. The point of entry now is the image.

Pudding Thieves (1966) Dir: Brian Davies 53.48
Pudding Thieves stars George Tibbits and Bill Morgan – George & Bill attempt to make a living through pornographic photography.  This film explores questions about the shock, mores and feminism of a changing modern city. It’s dedicated to the Bug House – sadly neglected today.

Bonjour Balwin (1972) Dir: Nigel Busset 1.05
Bonjour Balwin is a film, in part, about a man who runs a magazine. In the film we see a similar image of the city to one Robin Boyd uses in his book “The Australian Ugliness”, which in turn is one of the topics for a magazine article under discussion in the film – the characters discuss the development of a point system for the most dreadful town in Victoria.

Boyd’s book in part asks us questions about who we are. In this light it’s important to look back at these films because they do tell us something about who we are, what we might have in common, and how our architecture shapes us and the way we live.

Nimmo Street (1962) Dir: Tom Cowan 11.10
Nimmo Street is about a girl, a boy, a fight and Middle Park in 1962.

Expectant Spaces (2002) Dir: Ben Speth 32.35
Expectant Spaces is a montage of various empty places, waiting for someone to arrive. These spaces are reflective of the images of Silicon Valley seen in the first film. This film asks question about the ways architecture enables or doesn’t enable people to come together.

Louise Mackenzie_copyright_2012

Photography by Jane McDougall